This is Thanksgiving time, and I’m supposed to write a posting about the many reasons why I am thankful. Granted that I do have many, many reasons to be thankful, but if you think about it though, that’s almost self-serving, to the point of seeming to brag to others about just how wonderful life has been. What to do? Well, I can’t really call this an “anti-Thanksgiving” post, but I am going to do something different: Instead of writing about the good things I am thankful for, I am going to instead write about a crappy thing that ended.
Specifically, I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about where my professional life has taken me since being involuntarily retired in December 2016, from an employer that I thought would take me well into my 60’s. There have been some good things happen on that front, including meeting some great folks & discovering some new things about myself. There have also been some bad…genuinely bad…things happen as well. To that latter point, I feel guilty for having been previously associated with an organization that, in my opinion, was not good for me, for my community, for people I call friends. I went from a nearly 28-year association with an organization I am proud of (still to this day) to one where I can barely speak the name. It’s as if I contributed to something unhealthy, and I need to apologize for some nebulous damage by the association I may have caused, knowing full well that some of the damage was, in fact, to myself.
Part of the above damage included an almost constant inner dialogue…
“This seems wrong, why are you a part of it?”
“This contradicts a lot of what you personally value”
”You are not valued here and this is demeaning”
”You need to just quit”
“I need to work, and just leaving will make me feel worse”
”It would be wrong to bail on my co-workers”
I know, it’s all so very circular.
In yet another example of cosmic synchronicity, that job ended, and another opportunity became available. These days I have the luxury of no longer living a daily professional life of contradiction, but instead, I can ponder it from the past tense. Now I have the ability maybe help make something better, as opposed to being associated with something that (in just my personal opinion) made things worse. My professional night has literally turned into a professional day.
Within this larger story, there are, as is usually the case, many mini-stories:
- There’s the story about my learning the value of networking.
- There’s the story about my leaning into the discomfort of change.
- There is the story of learning to take pride in some of my accomplishments.
- There’s a story of practicing humility in the only way it truly makes sense...by being made humble.
All of this may change in the blink of an eye. Or it may stay the same for the next ten years. One thing is for sure though: There is more to be learned.